Don't Fear the Bird:
Turkey Vultures Can Prevent Pandemics
Public health depends upon much maligned bird,
claims avian expert
by Ari Tulk
The wind blows harsh through the gold-turning leaves. The vulture’s rosebud head stands out against the sky like an American flag as she circles to land. The shining red skin, bone-white beak, and fathomless blue.
She lands on the road’s edge, and takes cautious steps toward the carcass. It looks soft, fresh, and inviting, but she must be careful if she is to safely cleanse this area of the diseases that the carcass threatens.
Most people don’t know this side of the turkey vulture. Many people do not respect vultures due to their reputation of foul dirtiness, association with superstitious fear, and common appearance in images of death, decay, and chaos.
Jonathan Oglesbee, a resident of a southern coastal area of Delaware, a place with a high population of turkey vultures, says that when he first came across the birds on his arrival to his location, "they kind of reminded me of Halloween and spooky things…they looked a bit gruesome."
At first, he was not greatly bothered by the birds' presence, despite feeling unnerved by the great numbers of them "swarming the skies"; their comings and goings made sense to him, as he "attributed it to the...large construction dumpsters" which were regularly visited by the vultures.
When the vultures began to disrupt him and his neighbors, however, he grew interested.
"Some of my neighbors, their houses are higher than mine, and the vultures were eating part of their roof, especially around the plumbing vent pipes, causing their roofs to leak, and…quite a lot of damage,'' he says.
Due to his increasing annoyance at the birds' disturbance of the area, he researched how he could get rid of them and found that "you can annoy them but you can’t kill them"; turkey vultures are protected in many states in America, including Delaware.